Churchill Fellowship supports disability doco

Press release from Fertile Films

Independent documentary maker Sarah Barton is one of 101 Australians who have been awarded 2010 Churchill Fellowships. Sarah will use the fellowship to travel to the US and UK and record interviews with key surviving figures from the disability rights movement. She will also research availability of archival footage for her landmark film Weird & Wonderful – The Rise and Fight of the Disability Rights Movement.

Since her first film, the award winning Untold Desires in 1994, Sarah has been committed to making films that advance the rights of people with disabilities. In 2003 she established the long running community television series about disability No Limits and produced the first 70 episodes. “This film is being made in that same spirit of independence.” Says Sarah. The film has had development funding from Film Victoria but it is hoped that the support of the Churchill Fellowship and the exciting international content it will bring to the film, will attract other interest in investing in the film.

“It sounds crazy, but I’ll be on my own, lugging my trusty camera kit through San Francisco, Washington, New York and London and bringing home video interviews with those who were groundbreakers in the international disability rights movement. Once home I’ll add that to the story of the local movement and some of the very colorful figures we have here and I know I’ll have a documentary about an important rights movement that has never been told before.”

“Understanding the history of disability rights is an important part of understanding where disability rights needs to go from here. We don’t really understand the present until we know about the past, and many people don’t know why we no longer house people with disabilities in large institutions and why beauty quests and disability charities don’t go together for example.”

Sarah plans to travel later this year and complete the film in 2011.